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Thinking ?:. Is it okay for parents to spank (or use other corporal punishment on) their children? What about schools? Should teachers be allowed to use corporal punishment on students in violation of school rules? Even better: With videos!

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Thinking ?:

  • Is it okay for parents to spank (or use other corporal punishment on) their children?

  • What about schools? Should teachers be allowed to use corporal punishment on students in violation of school rules?

  • Even better: With videos!



Thinking ?:

  • What rewards or punishments, if any, have you ever or do you currently receive for excellent or poor grades?

Operant conditioning

Operant Conditioning

Operant conditioning vs classical conditioning

Operant Conditioning VS.Classical Conditioning

In Classical Conditioning, the subject’s response has no consequences; it produces no change in the environment.


The dog gets the food as the bell is rung whether or not he salivates to the bell.

The dog’s behavior doesn’t matter.

In Operant Conditioning, the dog has to stand up to

get the food. His behavior DOES matter


The law of effect

The Law of Effect

Edward Thorndike (1874-1949)

  • If Beh is rewarded, it is likely to recur


  • He called this INSTRUMENTAL LEARNING b/c “C” was instrumental in shaping future behaviors

  • Puzzle boxes and cats (1898)

Early operant conditioning

First Trial

in Box

After Many

Trials in Box

Scratch at bars

Scratch at bars

Push at ceiling

Push at ceiling



inside of

puzzle box



inside of

puzzle box

Dig at floor

Dig at floor







Press lever

Press lever

Early Operant Conditioning

  • NOT insightful…it’s trial and error at first

Thorndike s puzzle box

Thorndike’s Puzzle Box


“A person does not act upon the world, the world acts upon him.”

B. F. Skinner (1904–1990)

The skinner box

The Skinner Box

B f skinner 1904 1990

B.F. Skinner (1904-1990)

  • Skinner Box

  • Pressing Lever = Behavior or OPERANT

    • The behavior “operates” on the environment to produce a desirable outcome.

  • Food = Reinforcer

  • Process of Giving food = reinforcement

  • SKINNER (kinda boring, skip)


Day 1 = no reinforcementDay 2-5 = beginning of reinforcement  give doll only when she says “doll” “duh” or “dat”Day 10 = reinforce only when saying “doll”

Skinner s air crib a room fit for a baby

Skinner’s Air Crib:A room fit for a…Baby!

To read more on this invention: Click Here!

Reinforcement punishment


  • Reinforcement - Any consequence that increases the likelihood of the behavior it follows

    • Reinforcement is ALWAYS GOOD!!!

    • Reinforcement leads to this: Pigeons Turning

  • Punishment - Any consequence that decreases the likelihood of the behavior it follows

  • Who decides which is which?

    • Examples?

Types of reinforcement

Types of Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement

Positive (+) Reinforcement

  • Encourages & increases frequency of behavior


  • ?What other examples can you develop?

Token economies

Token Economies

Poker chips normally have little or no value for chimpanzees, but this chimp will work hard to earn them once he learns that the “Chimp-O-Mat” will dispense food in exchange for them.

Negative reinforcement

Negative (-) Reinforcement

  • ALSO Encourages & increases frequency of behavior

  • EFFECTS: REMOVAL of something unpleasant

  • ?What other examples can you develop?

  • Personal notes pg.12 examples

  • (Handout 8-6, pg. 13)

Billy throws a tantrum

Billy Throws a Tantrum

  • Billy throws a tantrum and demands to eat the newly baked brownies instead of his dinner. His parents give in for the sake of peace and quiet.

  • How is this an example of positive reinforcement?

  • How is this an example of negative reinforcement?

  • Below are answers

    • + Reinforcement = Child’s tantrum reinforced when parents give in

    • - Reinforcement = Parents’ behavior reinforced when Billy stops screaming

Primary vs secondary reinforcement

Primary VS Secondary Reinforcement

  • Something that is naturally reinforcing

  • Examples: food, warmth, water, etc.

  • The item is reinforcing in and of itself

  • Something that a person has learned to value or finds rewarding because it is paired or associated with a primary reinforcer

  • Money

  • Grade

  • Signs of respect & approval.

Immediate versus delayed reinforcement

Immediate Versus Delayed Reinforcement

Immediate reinforcers

Immediate Reinforcers

  • Immediate reinforcers – behaviors that immediately precede the reinforcerbecome more likely to occur

  • Apply to training animals?

  • Undesirable human behaviors with imm. reinforcers?

  • Smoking, alcohol, other drugs = immediate rewards outweigh long term negatives


The effect of delay of reinforcement. Notice how rapidly the learning score drops when reward is delayed. Animals learning to press a bar in a Skinner box showed no signs of learning if food reward followed a bar press by more than 100 seconds (Perin, 1943).

Delayed reinforcers

Delayed Reinforcers

  • AKA Delayed Gratification

    • Give up small reward now for

    • Big reward later

  • M Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled

    • "Delaying gratification is a process of scheduling the pain and pleasure of life in such a way as to enhance the pleasure by meeting and experiencing the pain first and getting it over with. It is the only decent way to live" (p. 19).

  • PremackPrinciple

    • AP Psych Notecards

    • Going out Friday night

Delaying gratification

Delaying Gratification

  • Examples of doing / not doing?

  • Stay up late to watch TV when next day we’re tired

  • Smoke for satisfaction now when later it will kill us

  • Immediate reinforcement is more effective than delayed reinforcement

  • Ability to delay gratification predicts higher achievement / higher life satisfaction / higher intelligence ! 

  • Handout 8-4 (personal notes pg. 12)

Punishment the process of punishment

Punishment:The Process of Punishment


  • Punishment’s effect is opposite that of reinforcement – it decreases the frequency of behavior

Positive vs negative punishment

Positive vs. Negative Punishment

  • Punishment by Application

  • Something is added to the environment you do NOT like.

  • Spanking: With videos!

  • Something is taken away that you DO LIKE.

  • Lose a privilege.

  • No dessert after dinner

  • Study block example

Desired effects of punishment

Desired Effects of Punishment

  • Punishment can effectively control certain behaviors if…

    • It comes immediately after the undesired behavior

    • It is consistent and not occasional

  • Especially useful if teaching a child not to do a dangerous behavior

  • Most still suggest reinforcing an incompatible behavior rather than using punishment

Undesirable effects of punishment

Undesirable Effects of Punishment

  • What is the alternative, acceptable behavior?

  • Tells what NOT to do

  • New settings, same bad behavior

  • Fear of the punisher, anxiety, & lower self-esteem

  • Learn to use aggression to solve problems.

2 forms of learning from punishment

2 Forms of Learning from Punishment

  • Escape Learning

  • Avoidance learning

Situation: Katelyn creates a ruckus in English class she hates and is asked to leave the class. Maya is evidencing escape learning. If Katelyn skips English class altogether, that is avoidance learning.

Some reinforcement procedures shaping

Some Reinforcement Procedures:Shaping


Skinner attached some horizontal stripes to the wall which he then used to gauge the dog's responses of lifting its head higher and higher. Then, he simply set about shaping a jumping response by flashing the strobe (and simultaneously taking a picture), followed by giving a meat treat, each time the dog satisfied the criterion for reinforcement. The result of this process is shown below, as it was in LOOK magazine, in terms of the pictures taken at different points in the shaping process. Within 20 minutes, Skinner had Agnes "running up the wall"



For the second shaping demonstration, Skinner trained Agnes to press the pedal and pop the top on the wastebasket. Again, the photographer's flash served as the conditioned reinforcer, and each step in the process was photographed. The results are shown below.

Operant conditioning principles were used to train these pigeons to play ping pong shaping

Operant conditioning principles were used to train these pigeons to play Ping-Pong.Shaping



  • A # of responses successively in order to get a reward

Schedules of reinforcement

Schedules of Reinforcement

Continuous reinforcement

Continuous Reinforcement

  • Reward follows every correct response

  • Learning occurs rapidly

  • Behavior extinguishes quickly once reinforcement stops.

    • Once that reliable candy machine eats your money twice in a row, you stop putting money into it.

Partial reinforcement

Partial Reinforcement

  • Reward follows only some correct responses

  • Learning takes longer

  • More resistant to extinction

  • Includes the following types:

    • Fixed-interval (FI) and variable interval (VI)

    • Fixed-ratio (FR) and variable-ratio (VR)

Fixed ratio schedule fr

Fixed-RatioSchedule (FR)

  • Reward after defined number of correct responses

  • Faster = More Rewards

  • i.e. piece work:

    • You get $5 for every 10 widgets you make.

      • Approach 8,9,10, even faster!

Variable ratio schedule vr

Variable-RatioSchedule (VR)

  • Unpredictable number of correct responses

  • High rates of responding with little pause in order to increase chances of getting reinforcement

  • This schedule is very resistant to extinction.

  • Sometimes called the “gambler’s schedule”; similar to a slot machine or fishing

Fixed interval schedule

Fixed-Interval Schedule

  • defined period of time

  • Produces gradual responses at first and increases as you get closer to the time of reinforcement

  • Example: a known weekly quiz in a class, checking cookies after the 10 minute baking period.

Variable interval schedule

Variable-Interval Schedule

  • unpredictable amount of time

  • Produces slow and steady responses

  • Example: truly “pop” quiz in a class

Schedules of reinforcement1

Schedules of Reinforcement



  • Resistance to extinction

    • Variable > Fixed

    • Why?

    • Noticing a break in the pattern is harder

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